LEWISBURG — Think a catalyst causing an exothermic molecular reaction isn’t your thing? Then try watching a puking watermelon without laughing.
The Lewisburg Children’s Museum (LCM), in partnership with the Bucknell University Chemistry Department, is hosting a simulcast streaming of the “Backyard Chemistry Show” on Tuesday, June 23, at 6 p.m. on the LCM Facebook page. Though free to the public, donations are encouraged to support the museum’s mission.
Topping off the Backyard Chemistry Show will be a special appearance by Billy Kelly, a Grammy-nominated family singer, songwriter and comedian living in Lewisburg.
Kahla DeSmit, executive director of the Lewisburg Children’s Museum, noted the museum has partnered in the past with Bucknell’s Chemistry Department to host an annual Halloween Chemistry Show
“Pat Martino (Bucknell University chemistry outreach coordinator) is fabulous at creating unique science opportunities that really engage both parents and children,” DeSmit said.
“Our department wanted to come up with a way to give back to the local communities during these challenging times, and so we figured we’d do what we do best: entertain the public with a series of fun and exciting chemistry demos!” Martino said. “We also wanted to help raise support for the Lewisburg Children's Museum, a nonprofit that has allowed children from all over the Susquehanna Valley and beyond to explore so many different fields of study in a safe and supportive environment.”
Also known as “Science Pat,” Martino said Bucknell chemistry students provide opportunities for children to enjoy hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities. Facebook videos show groups of children cheering as a row of carved pumpkins, donated by Ard’s Farm Market, “erupt” with a combination of household chemicals. This is the first time the show will be performed virtually.
“We are so excited to inspire and entertain the local communities with this new format,” Martino said. “We’re bringing back everyone’s favorite demos from our annual Halloween show, but with a watermelon theme. Everyone loves the puking pumpkins, so we’re definitely going to feature a lot of those, but with watermelons. If you like our annual Halloween show, you’re definitely going to love this.”
Through this simulcast event, the LCM and chemistry department will stream a series of chemistry demonstrations, including the puking watermelons and also flamethrowers, liquid nitrogen reactions, and more.
The museum chose the online format to provide children with a fun activity while adhering to social distancing guidelines. They are looking forward to portraying science beyond the “sterile, lab coat” vision, DeSmit said, adding, “Besides the exploding produce, children will really enjoy seeing how science can be fun and exciting.”
Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Send email comments to her at CindyOHerman@gmail.com.